“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.” Psalm 1:1-2
The Psalm begins with the phrase, “Blessed is the man” or “Happy is the man.” We all want happiness. But most people look for happiness in all the wrong places and in all the wrong things. Many people look for it in job promotions, grades, money, new homes, cars, relationships, alcohol, and even drugs. While these things can make us feel good for a moment, they are all temporary.
Where then can we find lasting happiness in spite of circumstances? How is it that some people find themselves living in the worst of life’s circumstances yet still appear to be blessed, happy, and joyful.
In the Psalms, we discover that true lasting satisfaction involves not enjoying oneself, but taking delight in a real and living relationship with God. This is the secret of lasting Christian joy.
John Piper wrote: “The critical question for our generation—and for every generation—is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?”
This is important: the goal of the Christian life is not to enjoy oneself, but to enjoy God – and this is what brings that deeper joy. Far more permanent than mere happiness.
Psalm 1 teaches us that the believer is blessed by God. God is the one who blesses people who “do not walk in the counsel of the wicked,” who refuse evil advice. It is in God’s law that this person finds their delight. It is the sound of God’s voice and through God’s direction that this person finds “happiness.” In short, the understanding of how life works in this first Psalm point it out – a blessed life is a God centred life.